How many bees live and what affects it


The average bee family, numbering about 60-70 thousand individuals, spends an incredible amount of energy and food reserves on feeding its brood. The whole life of the hive revolves around procreation: the choice of the uterus - the parents of the brood, the extraction and stock of honey - food for the larvae, protection, cleaning and disinfection of honeycombs - the cradle of the larvae, and so on. Why, you ask, bee family such an army of young larvae? The fact is that the life of this insect is short, and during the difficult period of honey harvest it is only 30-35 days.

The more often the beekeeper removes honey and honey products from the hives, the more the bees have to work in order to reserve a supply of food for themselves during a hungry winter. Accordingly, the bees, worn out by the honey collection, wear out quickly. Those bees who were lucky to be born at the very end of the summer are idle and eat well, which allows them to live for almost a year, from the moment they were born.

Like humans, various factors affect the life of bees.

An experienced beekeeper not only knows how much a bee lives, depending on the date of withdrawal, the degree of physical activity and living conditions, but it can also predict the results of honey collection on the basis of these data and even influence them.

Factors affecting the life of a working bee

Significantly reduce the life of the bee, the following factors:

  • physical exhaustion due to active honey collection and large bribe (up to 5-6 kg per day),
  • growing brood (the more brood bees need to feed, the less they live, if the growth activity of the family is low, the insects live longer),
  • lack of nutrients (late-withdrawal bees often die even in winter, because they simply do not have enough food for normal development),
  • diseases and parasites of bees.

According to the overwhelming majority of beekeepers, high temperatures do not affect the duration of bee life. In extreme heat, the compensatory mechanism works: the metabolism decreases and the bees become numb, remaining in this state until the very moment the heat subsides.

The approximate life of the working insect is calculated depending on the date of birth:

  • spring bees live no more than 35-38 days, the lowest life expectancy of the most intensively feeding broods during this period is April bees,
  • in the summer, with a large bribe and feeding the brood, the bees live for about 30 days, and under good conditions and without the need for feeding - for several months,
  • a bee that appeared in August and autumn is long-lived, because they will have to survive the winter, and for this they have all the conditions: good food and good rest (the less brood a bee will feed in the fall and winter, the longer it will live).

The stronger and healthier the family, the longer all its members live. For example, strong working bees in the spring live for about 33 days, and weak - only 26-27 days.

Drones life

Drones are male bee colonies. Their sole purpose is fertilization of the uterus. Neither in the work on the hive, nor in the medical sector, they are not able to participate. Moreover, the drones are not even able to get food for themselves, so they feed on working bees.

Drones are born at the very end of spring. At other times of the year, the hive does not need them. They are ready for fertilization of the uterus 10–13 days after birth. Throwing sperm, the drone dies. In addition, many individuals die during the battles for the possession of the uterus.

The same drones who failed to fertilize the uterus or die with honor in battle remain in the full care of the worker bees. But often it is the bees who decide the fate of the hive males: if the uterus no longer needs fertilization and the honey collection season is over, the drones are driven out of the nest, if the uterus is not in the nest, or it is barren, several drones are left “in reserve”.

The life of the queen bee

In contrast to the drones and worker bees, the bee queen is a long-lived. In good conditions and a strong family, she can live up to 5 years. This is explained as follows: since the queen is the only bee in the family capable of reproducing offspring, it does just that and does not exhaust itself with work on the hive and honey collection. All family members take care of their queen, guard her and feed them abundantly. The main food of the uterus - royal jelly - the most valuable and nutrient-rich and protein substance produced by working bees.

Thanks to this balanced diet, the queen bee reproduces productively and quickly restores its reproductive abilities. However, the more the uterus lays eggs, the faster it wears out. On the threshold of exhaustion, she rarely lives to 2-3 years.

Worker bees closely monitor that the uterus performs its duties with high quality. When she carries few eggs, or stops laying them altogether, they replace her with a previously prepared spare uterus. Naturally, the old queen, deprived of the care of his subjects and abundant high-quality feed, lives far less than she could in her old "position."

Working life

All processes in the hive are cyclical. Including - life. Knowing the nuances allows beekeepers to plan and expect an increase in honey collection. Working insects make up the majority of the bee family. Their life expectancy is on average 30-45 days. It depends on such factors:

  • climatic conditions
  • bee brood time
  • family quality

Attention! Strong families generate strong bees. On average, they live 5-10 days longer than representatives of weak families.

In the warm summer it is easier for a bee to work. Such individuals live for about 1.5 months. Overwintering insects that went out to fish in early spring live no more than 30 days. All factors are interrelated:

  1. Bees born in the summer or winter live up to 60 days. They will be little busy exhausting growing new brood. The August children are long-lived because in the autumn months the bees have almost no work.
  2. Autumn brood is the most widespread. About half of it will live to the beginning of spring.
  3. The main load of the intensively growing family falls on the spring brood.

The lifetime of other individuals in the hive

The uterus potentially lives up to 5-6 years, because it does not fly for pollen and nectar, like other bees, does not feed the young, does not clean the hive. For her, the rest of the family do it. The main task of the uterus is to lay many eggs. Sometimes it is exhausted only by this work and rarely falls short of 2 years. If the female has ceased to cope with her duties, the honey-bearing individuals can change it to the young one.

Drones in their own valuable in the bee community. They fertilize the uterus and protect it during this process. Drones do not work, but they eat three times more honey than working bees. Nature made it advisable to stay in the hive only in warm weather. Almost always they die:

  • during the mating flight of their birds peck,
  • die after mating,
  • expelled from the hive before leaving for the winter.

The life of the uterus and drones depends on constant factors. Therefore, to answer the question of how long a honey bee will live, find out the period of its birth.

The composition of the bee family

A bee colony is a whole community, an organism that includes several thousand worker bees, hundreds of drones and one single queen bee. Absolutely every family has its own character, lifestyle, method of collecting honey. Only together can they defend themselves from ill-wishers, multiply, collect nectar and pollen.

Reference. Each member of the bee colony occupies its own level; they will fulfill their own functions in order to ensure the high comfort of living for the whole family.

The uterus is the only individual of the bee colony that puts offspring. This is the largest bee: its body length is about 2 - 2.5 cm. In one day, the uterus lays from one thousand to two thousand eggs, that is, for the whole season, about 150,000.

For all the uterus care for all family members. They feed and clean it.

Uterus surrounded by worker bees

Worker bees are female individuals with underdeveloped genitals. They are not so large in size: the length of their body ranges from 1.2 to 1.4 centimeters. This is the most numerous species. In the summer, there are about 60,000 to 80,000 working bees in one family. In autumn and spring - only about 20,000 - 30,000. Working bees knowingly received this name. They are the main for the collection of nectar and pollen, the construction of honeycombs, the feeding of offspring and the maintenance of cleanliness in the hive.

Drones are male individuals whose main task is mating with the uterus. They are medium in size: 1.6 - 1.7 cm in length, and their number in one family reaches several hundred, or even thousands. Drones live in the family only in summer. At this time, working individuals look after them, feed them. But at the end of the summer period, the maintenance of their life ceases, and the drones, starved by hunger, are thrown out of the hive.

What factors affect life expectancy

The following factors can affect the longevity of a bee:

  • feeding, growing and grooming the brood (the more offspring the bees need to go out and feed, the less likely they will survive themselves),
  • active daily work (collecting nectar and pollen, grooming the larvae and the uterus, building honeycombs),
  • various diseases
  • lack of nutrients.

In addition, the bee's lifespan may depend on the time when it was born:

  1. Bees born in the spring, live no more than 38 days. At the same time, April bees most intensively feed their offspring and, as a result, live less.
  2. Summer individuals live for about a month. And if comfortable living conditions are observed and there is no great need for feeding, then even a few months.
  3. Bee representatives, born in the fall, will easily live to the next spring. The less the need to feed the brood, the longer they will live.

How long does a worker bee live

To find the answer to the question of how many days a worker bee lives, one must first of all know what time of year it was born. According to the information we analyzed in the previous question, we can draw the following conclusion: in the absence of other factors, autumn bees are long-livers in comparison with others. But do not forget that the duration of the life of the insect depends on its way of life. Feeding a large number of larvae, collecting nectar daily or any diseases can shorten the life of an insect by up to 25 days.

How long does the drone live

The drones are born in every hive at the end of the spring period and two weeks later they are ready for mating. Factors that affect the life of worker bees do not apply to them. As soon as the drone throws out a seed, he dies. Also, some individuals may die in the process of fighting for the fertilization of the uterus. The life of the rest is in the paws of working bees, because they are the ones who feed them. As soon as the need for drones disappears, they are thrown out of the hive, thereby condemning to death.

There are cases when there is no uterus in the hive or it is barren. Then, at the end of the summer period, the worker bees leave several drones so that they can fertilize the new uterus on time.

Uterus lifespan

The uterus, as one single female able to breed, lives much longer than worker bees and drones. In good conditions, its life expectancy can be 5 - 6 years. She does not fly to collect nectar and pollen, does not feed the growing offspring, does not clean the hive. On the contrary, it is carefully fed by other members of the family with specially produced royal jelly, cleaned after it, cleaned and protected. This explains the long life of the uterus.

But at the same time it should be valuable to the hive: give large brood and multiply actively. When the uterus begins to carry fewer eggs, or stops stopping them completely, the working individuals replace it with a new, younger one. And the former queen, deprived of comprehensive care, will live much less.


It is worth noting that weather and climatic conditions also affect the lifespan of bees. For example, a cold winter and small stocks of food will not allow the bees to live a happy long life.

Also, if you take a large amount of honey from the apiary, the bees have to work more and more, collecting nectar. And this is detrimental to their health and life.

Worker bees

The longitude of the life of honey bees also depends on climatic conditions. It has been noticed: these insects live the longest in strong families for 30–35 days, in a weak family - up to 25 days. In the summer, honey bees live longer - 35–45 days. Warm days and good summer weather allows the insect to feel and work comfortably. From here and life expectancy at the maximum level. Overwintered insects have a life span of up to 25–30 days.

Working bees fully serve the uterus, feed, clean. The worker bee lives 26-40 days.

Summer and winter bees that do not grow brood can live up to two months. If a large amount of brood was raised in the fall, then in the spring the bee will die faster. The more energy was spent working bee, the shorter her life. At the end of spring, the growth of the family slows down, the longitude of the insect increases significantly. For the winter season, all June bees are dying. Honeybees, which appeared at the end of August, can live throughout the autumn season. A third of them go into the winter months.

Autumn brood is the main mass of hibernating bees. Half of these workers live to the first months of spring. Some individuals of autumn bees were observed that lived in March and April.

Bees, bred at the end of October, go into winter. Most of them die in early spring. Here the decisive influence on the life span of a honey bee is exerted by night cooling, the lack of pollen, the absence of a bribe. Such insects have a weakened immune system, so few survive for the spring season.

The April brood has the shortest life span. The average length of their lives is 22-24 days. In mid-spring, the swarm is booming. A lot of the power and energy of insects go to growing young and warming the nesting place.

Unlike the cold, the heat does not have such a detrimental effect on honey workers. Native insects are adapted to such extreme conditions. When the temperature of the air is high, the bees wait out the heat while sitting in the hives on the honeycomb frames. Insects are active only in the morning and evening when the air is relatively cool.

The brood bred in August lives the longest. The number of brood landings is sharply reduced, so most of the family is in a state of inaction. The total longitude of life reaches 230 days.

Queen bee

Unlike insect workers, the queen bee can live for several years. What can explain such a life expectancy?

The queen bee or bee-mat is the only individual in the bee family capable of reproducing the genus.

The uterus leads a calm and measured life. She does not need to collect honey, spend a lot of energy in search of pollen. The uterus relies on enhanced nutrition when it comes to laying eggs of larvae. Milk rich in trace elements and protein compounds predominates in the uterus food. Thanks to the milk in the uterus, the process of restoring its functions is faster. The uterus is the largest of the bee swarm. The uterus is protected and shown increased care of it. With this care, the uterus can live up to 5 years.

If the uterus lays many eggs, which happens in large families, it quickly ages and barely lives to 2 years. In this case, such a uterus should be replaced.

The life of the queen bee is significantly affected by worker bees. They monitor the laying of larvae and can change the uterus if it does not cope with their duties. This uterus will live fewer years than with careful care.

Drones, as part of a family, have the same life expectancy as working insects, but live only in summer. After the drones are driven out of the hive.

Summing up, we can say that in the bee family there is a cyclical pattern of death and birth. Knowing about these features, experienced beekeepers know when you can expect an increase in the collection of honey.